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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Pruning Cherry Tree

Posted: 13/06/2013 at 19:14

This is what I would do - others may differ!  Identify the leader (usually the highest vertically growing branch in the centre) and cut it back to the height you want, right above a weak-looking side shoot.  You want to do any pruning in early to mid summer as the tree will heal fastest at these times of the year and doing it at other times will invite nasty infections, such as Silver leaf or canker.  Once pruned, keep an eye out for 'water shoots', which are simply fast-growing vertical shoots.  Remove these as soon as you see them over the next few months.

Echinacea purpurea

Posted: 13/06/2013 at 18:57

Will do - as long as we get something resembling a summer, that is!

Unidentified Spider

Posted: 13/06/2013 at 18:50

All spiders are carnivores so don't eat plants.  In my book that makes them good for the garden.

Soap spray

Posted: 12/06/2013 at 22:03

Achieving an environmental balance is not necessarily going to come easy or cheap, and when you create imbalance by growing things under glass, pest infestations are often a consequence.  If you are happy to spend money to overcome the problem, introduce some predators:

There are a number of online suppliers.  One alternative is to spend several hours a day manually removing them (eg squashing and washing off etc) but you can only keep the infestation under control doing this, not eliminate it.  A second alternative is to make your own natural pesticides by extracting natural poisons from plants and spraying them with it.  Oxalic acid from rhubarb leaves, Nicotine from Nicotiana tabacum (the actual tobacco plant), for example.

white mites

Posted: 12/06/2013 at 00:00

The web is almost certainly a sign of spider mite.  These tiny pests can be somewhat controlled by raising the humidity around the plant.  The easiest way is to regularly spray with water (several times a day.)  Standing the plant pot on a tray of wet gravel will help, too.  They love hot dry conditions and are difficult to eradicate completely.  Use a magnifying glass to confirm:

There is a predator mite available called Phytoseiulus persimilis which will eradicate it, but they are expensive.



Posted: 11/06/2013 at 22:33

It could be your new allotment is affected by onion white rot (hopefully not.) Have a look at the RHS description and see if your onions look anything like this:


Talkback: Growing leeks

Posted: 11/06/2013 at 22:26

Hi Leonard, yes, they'll be ok.  Leeks are one of the few veg which can keep growing over the winter - I am often still harvesting them in March.  I've just transplanted mine (which were about the same size as yours) from 40-plant per tray modules into 5cm square pots (15 per tray) and will grow them on like that until I lift the first row of potatoes, which they'll immediately replace.  Even after a week the growth has picked-up noticeably.  As members of the onion family, leeks are very hungry plants and will benefit from being transplanted into larger modules/small pots of fresh compost.

Echinacea purpurea

Posted: 11/06/2013 at 18:55

Yes, but it does have to be a fairly large and deep one.  Just snapped this in my garden - their second year in this 18" tub.  Five plants in all and they only produced one flower each in their first year, but I expect 3-4 times that many this year.


clematis - The President

Posted: 11/06/2013 at 18:39

About 5 years ago my specimen (about 3 or 4 years old then) was also very tall and lanky with just 3 or 4 stems.  I'd say it is particularly prone to getting lanky.  I cut it completely down to the ground in the next early spring and was rewarded by it sending up 11 new stems!  I plan to do exactly the same next spring as it is pretty bare for the first 3 feet this year.  Some say the 'proper' way to do it is to remove about a third of the stems every year, but I find it impossible to remove the cut stems without damaging the ones I want to keep.  Even when cut back to the ground, it still managed a good show, but only one flush of flowers and much later than normal.  Like all of my clematis, it was planted 6" deeper than in the pot it came in, so there's a good root crown.  It might be risky cutting a shallowly planted clematis to the ground.

Back to your question, I think your method should work, BB - it should have the same effect as partially cutting back after flowering which is often recommended.

Wilting Cauliflowers

Posted: 09/06/2013 at 15:59

Caulies are the hardest brassica to grow well in my experience, too.  You definitely have a root-eating pest of some kind.  I would try growing them to a larger size before planting out, then plant them deep - right up to the first leaves - maybe even an inch deeper.  Also make sure you firm the soil really well after planting, then place a collar around the stem (see RHS link below.)

Most pests like acidic conditions so next Winter it might also be worth liming the area where you will be growing them.

RHS advice on cabbage root fly:


Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 135
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 792
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 588
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 531
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 472
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 330
Last Post: 13/07/2014 at 18:04

Bob's guide to picking soft fruit

Only fto be read by your household's main gardener! 
Replies: 3    Views: 314
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 620
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 523
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 21:44

A week of rain = jungle garden!

It's been too wet to really do anything outside.. 
Replies: 16    Views: 980
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 597
Last Post: 24/04/2014 at 11:30

Check your delphiniums for caterpillars

Look for distorted and damaged leaves near the tips 
Replies: 10    Views: 663
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 356
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 662
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 713
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31
1 to 15 of 27 threads